Our Culture

Update: An Open Letter from our Director and President

Dear Monellians,

Last June, I started my letter to Monellians by saying that “multiple acts fueled by racism in 2020 have heightened our awareness that America has a long way to go before we become a truly equal society.”

Sadly, here we are again, well into 2021. The mass shooting and tragedy in Atlanta, as well as the recent rise of hate incidents against our neighbors and colleagues in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities (AAPI), shows just how far we are from making sure that any group, any heritage, any person can be assured they do not have to live in fear in our country.

What I wrote before, bears repeating: We reaffirm our commitment toward justice and equality for everyone to ensure a better future. Science, along with society, needs to step up. This includes our continued efforts in creating, and maintaining, an inclusive, safe, and equal environment for everyone at Monell. We can do this by increasing the dialogue and awareness of issues of inequality in science, but promoting these same values in the greater Philadelphia community.

Again, we cannot state this forcefully enough – Monell condemns any form of action that takes us farther away from establishing social justice in our own communities.

Here are actions we can take now:

  • If you see a hate crime occur, call 9-1-1.
  • Non-emergency hate crimes and discriminatory acts should be reported to state and local police, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission of Pennsylvania (PHRC). PHRC tracks reported incidents to inform the PA Interagency Task Force on Community Activities and Relations, a group of state agencies who work to prevent and respond to civil tension and violence arising from conflicts between ethnic or cultural groups when there are public expressions of bias or hate.
  • Check out the National STOP AAPI HATE website for ways to get involved, report an incident, and read about safety tips for those who may feel vulnerable. Stop AAPI Hate’s reporting database accepts incident reports in multiple AAPI languages.


Bob Margolskee, MD, PhD
Director and President, Monell Center

More About Our Initiatives

Respectful Workplace Committee
The Respectful Workplace Committee (RWC) was formed in 2018 to update and clarify policies created to foster a respectful workplace, to encourage employees to report situations that are not respectful, and to give voice to groups not traditionally represented in policy-making. Working with Monell Human Resources, the RWC surveys all Monellians annually about the prevalence of harassment in the workplace as well as attitudes toward Monell’s procedures. Results are used to update training and policies, such as creating the Diversity Journal Club.

Diversity Journal Club
Monell Diversity Journal ClubThe Diversity Journal Club was formed in June 2020 as part of the Center’s ongoing efforts to combat systemic racism and promote diversity in our workplace and community. This monthly in-house virtual gathering is open to all Monellians to foster an open discussion and share ideas to increase our knowledge and awareness regarding issues of race, discrimination, and diversity. For more information, please contact Karen Kreeger, kkreeger@monell.org.

Monell Science Apprenticeship Program
To date, more than 375 high school and undergraduate students over the last 39 years have spent a summer at Monell, earning a weekly salary and meeting the challenges of serious research responsibilities. The mission of this program is to stimulate an interest in science, particularly in groups typically underrepresented in this area, including females, ethnic or racial minorities, and the economically disadvantaged. Read more here.

Examples of Helpful Resources (Watch this space for updates)

#ShutDownSTEM resource list

Picture a Scientist film


AChemS Diversity Committee